CIV_ENV 455: Plasticity and Limit Analysis

Quarter Offered

Fall : MW 8:00-9:50 ; James Hambleton


This graduate course introduces fundamental theory of plasticity, including the concepts of yielding and plastic flow in materials and, by extension, the concepts of limit (collapse) loads and collapse mechanisms in boundary value problems. It introduces the various techniques available for computing limit loads, including the slip-line method (method of characteristics), limit equilibrium, analytical and numerical limit analysis, and the finite element method. By the end of the course, students understand and are able to apply limit analysis as a method for evaluating rigorous bounds on limit loads for stability problems in engineering. They are able to program basic finite element limit analysis (FELA) codes, and have exposure to some advanced concepts.


  • Yield conditions and flow rules
  • Overview of methods for computing limit loads (limit equilibrium, method of characteristics, finite element method, analytical and numerical limit analysis)
  • Limit theorems and limit analysis
  • Selected applications
  • Progressive failure
Course Outline, Outcomes, and Goals